A Tribute to Osvaldo Pugliese – A Man Who Changed Tango Forever! A Tribute to Osvaldo Pugliese – A Man Who Changed Tango Forever!

A Tribute to Osvaldo Pugliese – A Man Who Changed Tango Forever!

story by Vladimir Shifrin for DanceUs.org

This month, Osvaldo Pedro Pugliese would have been 110 years old. This is a tribute to a man who changed Argentine Tango forever.


Osvaldo came from a family obsessed with music (his father and two older brothers all played the violin); yet it was Osvaldo who went on to create a distinct tango style  musical, yet with a tiempo favored by dancers; avant-garde, but honoring traditional tangos. To this day, Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra remains one of the most popular tango orchestras in the world; it has helped popularize tango beyond Buenos Aires and Argentina.

Exactly thirty years ago, on Osvaldo's 80th birthday, his orchestra played in the world famous Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, a unique event, as the Teatro is reserved almost exclusively for classical music and opera. Here they are:

Today, Osvaldo's music flows from every corner of the world. The music is deep and troubling; and needs a lot of skill and maturity to be played. One can say Pugliese's style takes you back in time. Here is a Sydney Orchestra playing "La Yumba"  a song that became the orchestra anthem.

Osvaldo's music spans some of the most turbulent decades for Argentina and the rest of the world. Music was an expression that helped people deal with harsh reality of quickly changing political regimes, wars, repressions and poverty. Music also gave birth to the dance. Pugliese is a great choice for slower tango dance music and his music has been used for performances since 1920s to today. Here is an example of a classical performance, by Juan Carlos Copes and Johana:

Today, you will find Osvaldo's music on performance stages, in movies, at concert venues (all of these can be links) and of, course, at milongas  social dance clubs for tangueros. Argentineans continue to evolve the moves of the dance and contemporary dancers like Chicho Frumboli create new styles to the timeless music.

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